BATTLE FOR SAFA HEATS UP
Fight to lead football takes a turn as Danny and Irvin square off
THE fierce battle for control of the SA Football Association (Safa) has taken a new twist.
A push to change the body’s constitution to allow Irvin Khoza to run for president has hit a snag.
Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble says time has run out for anyone who intends to propose an amendment of the mother body’s constitution at its congress on August 24, as the cut-off date for submissions was last Thursday.
This would boost the chances of Khoza’s main rival, Danny Jordaan.
The Safa constitution does not allow club owners to stand for president, but last week a splinter group led by Mandla Mazibuko – the Safa vice-president – announced its intention to submit a proposal to amend the constitution at the extraordinary congress on August 24 so as to allow Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League chairman Khoza to run.
Mumble told Sunday World that for the constitution to be amended, the members must receive 30 days’ notice and Safa did not see such a proposal before the deadline.
‘‘ That deadline was up last Thursday and, besides, there was no call for motions anyway,” he said.
‘‘ So even on the floor (on the day) it is not possible to amend the constitution in this coming extraordinary congress.”
Mazibuko said yesterday he was surprised by Mumble’s declaration because he never received any notification that the deadline was approaching.
‘‘ Did he give notice of the pending deadline to all the members? The answer is no,” Mazibuko said.
‘‘ As we speak, there are regions that have still not received anything. Was it deliberate or was it a mistake? I don’t know.”
Mazibuko said they would raise their complaints at the August 24 congress as they feel disadvantaged.
Should the issue not be considered at this month’s congress, a proposal to amend the constitution might still be considered as long as it is submitted about a month before Safa ’ s elective congress on September 28.
But the group will need 75% of the house to vote in its favour before a motion is considered.
A Safa insider told Sunday World that this might take some doing as 34 regions are expected to throw their weight behind Safa vicepresident Jordaan while 17 are believed to support the splinter group.
But Mazibuko argued that no camp can say with certainty how many regions would back them because the numbers are a matter of speculation.
The group backing Khoza wants him as president and Mazibuko, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Alpha Mchunu as his vice-presidents.
Khoza’s cellphone rang unanswered yesterday and he did not respond to messages left on his voicemail.
Mazibuko said the Pirates chairman had to be given space to apply his mind and decide if he wanted to accede to the request to run for Safa president.
‘‘ People have families, businesses and sponsors to think about and I think it is only fair for them to be given space to consult with them before deciding whether to accept or decline nominations.”
The battle for control of the increasingly divided mother body has intensified over the past few weeks and Safa president Kirsten Nematandani is the only candidate who has officially put up his hand.
Nematandani announced his intention to run for a second term a few weeks ago. Jordaan and Khoza have not officially confirmed bids.
All three rivals are believed to be furiously campaigning behind the scenes and lobbying for support from the 52 Safa regions that will cast their votes for a new president on September 28.
Mumble reiterated that the recently appointed Safa electoral committee would, for the first time, have procedures in place to test if those who campaign for the presidency have put the wishes of the regions that nominate them ahead of their own agendas.
Criminal background checks and integrity tests will also be done for the first time and candidates will be ruled ineligible if:
They were previously convicted of a crime involving breach of trust, fraud, forgery or perjury.
They were convicted of a violent crime.
They are a former president of Safa.
They were found guilty by any Safa tribunal or competent court of law of electoral fraud or other corrupt practice.
They are subject to an order of a competent court declaring them as mentally ill or disordered.
Nematandani admitted that he was at the helm of a divided organisation and the coming elections have proved more divisive than he would have wanted.
The Safa president said there were many within the game who felt he should never have got the position in 2009 and continued to question his decision to make himself available for a second term.
He was unexpectedly elected president unopposed four years ago after Jordaan and Khoza withdrew.
The eligibility of the two powerhouses to contest the election was raised, threatening to turn the race into a farce.
‘‘ Remember, this is what you call a transition period that I find myself in and a transition period is not easy because you still have people who believe they could have been (president),” Nematandani said.
‘‘ But with time people will get to a mode of understanding that this is the person who should be in charge. Unity is something that I said was very high on my agenda and I worked for it.
“I worked for it and that is why I am pleased to say I have got friends from both sides.”
The tough-talking Safa president said only those who had the best intentions for the sport should be allowed to lead the organisation.
‘‘ Those who are aspiring for positions without the passion (for the sport) are wasting the country’s time.
“You have to have that commitment. You may be popular, but if you do not have the passion you are wasting this country’s time.
“What is important is that commitment and passion when you go out there to volunteer your time for the sake of development.
“That is what matters to me the most. The rhetoric that is out there does not matter so much to me. What matters to me is what you bring.”
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